The real-life Joe Clark resigned as principal of Eastside High School shortly after the film was released. Around the time the film debuted, he was suspended by the school board for one week, after scheduling an assembly, in which dancers stripped down to their G-strings. Clark said he hadn't known about it in advance. Ironically, the man who suspended him, was Dr. Frank Napier, the Superintendent played by Robert Guillaume in the film. After Clark left Eastside, he became an author, and motivational speaker. In 1995, he was hired to run a juvenile detention center in Newark, New Jersey, a position he held, until he resigned in 2002. During his time there, he once again came under fire for his controversial methods.
In one scene (while holding a baseball bat), Morgan Freeman says, "They used to call me Crazy Joe. Well now they can call me Batman!" Freeman would go on to play the character of Lucius Fox, ally to Batman, in the Dark Knight trilogy.
Several homages to Sesame Street (1969) are referenced in the film - when Clark was seen as a history teacher, in the 1967 scene, he sported an Afro (similar to the character Easy Reader on The Electric Company (1971), where Morgan Freeman was part of the cast) and when he arrives at Eastside High, on the first day on the job, he wears a business suit similar to the one he had during The Electric Company's opening credits. Dr. Napier said to Clark, in one scene, that he is a Big Bird with Radar, which was a double entendre (either as an airplane or the famous Sesame Street character with his pet teddy bear). Also, Lynne Thigpen would later join the cast of the PBS series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? (1991), as the Chief.